CS:GO has been one of the games that have garnered worldwide popularity. The game has incorporated skins almost at the same time as its inception. It was around a year after the game has been released when skins were added. But are CS:GO skins worth real money, and if they are, is CS:GO skin trading worth it?
CS:GO Skin Basics
For those who don't know, CS:GO skins are the cosmetic features a player can add to their avatar. These improvements in look do not provide any advantages to the player's attributes. It also does not add any significant advantage to the items used in the game, such as guns, knives, vests, etc.
The selections of different skins a player can obtain in CS:GO skin and item marketplaces are plentiful. Skins can be applied to guns, the knife, and in the future, the player too. These skins add that extra touch of pizzazz in any CS:GO game. The prices of these skins can become high at times. The rarer ones are climbing as high as over $60,000. Skins have proven to be a phenomenal success, and a massive international marketplace spread across multiple online skin trading sites (e.g., DMarket, BitSkins, CS.Money).
Skins were primarily developed to be applied to guns and knives. This is because these are the only things that the players can see most of the time. There were also concerns with character skins as they can prove to be distracting. It may cause confusion with the identification of teammates vs. enemies.
Ways To Get CS:GO Skins
A player can sell CS:GO skins in many ways. The most basic way of earning skins is by playing the game itself. After each game commences, there is always a chance of the player getting a "drop." A drop means that the player can get a crate that contains skins. The skins that are in the crate are random.
Other ways of obtaining skins in CS:GO are vast. There are sign-up bonuses with sites that provide free skins. There are also different tournaments one could join wherein they would have skins for the winners. Another way of obtaining skins is using real money to buy crates and just hope that those contain good skins.
Skins can also be won by following popular streamers that play CS:GO. These are usually found on Twitch or Facebook. Some streamers usually have sponsors. That's why they can do CS:GO skin giveaways. Another way is to trade with a few buddies or other players online. Yes, skins can also be traded.
Skins can be traded straight up 1:1. There are also instances where an individual would trade five or ten different skins for one or two skins of a higher value.
Value Of CS:GO Skins
In CS:GO trading, skins come in very different designs. Some skins are more valuable than others. The CS:GO skin prices depend on multiple factors. Although, it usually comes down to the rarity of the skin. Players would pay top dollar to have a skin that not many others have. The hierarchy of these skins is listed below:
- White (Common) - Base Grade
- Light Blue (Uncommon) - Industrial Grade
- Darker Blue (Rare) - High Grade, Military Spec
- Purple (Mythical) - Restricted
- Pinkish Purple (Legendary) - Classified, Exotic
- Red (Ancient) - Extraordinary
- Gold (Exceedingly Rare) - Melee Weapons
When talking about weapons in the game, it is important to talk about StatTrak. Essentially, StatTrak is a technology in CS:GO that tracks a player's activity with a certain weapon. It can track how many kills a person got using that weapon. This is important for individuals who want to take their CS:GO skills to the next level. That StatTrak score may give some skins more value than others based on the weapon it customizes.
Even with the various designs available for the different CS:GO skins, it didn't stop there. The game features "Exterior Quality" for weapons. This feature will determine how the weapons will look like on top of the design. Designs do not have any effect on the weapons, but the exterior quality does. The different finishes have different effects on lower-quality weapons.
The different finishes of CS:GO skins are listed below, from worst to best:
- BS - Battle-Scarred
- WW - Well Worn
- FT - Field Tested
- MW - Minimal Wear
- FN - Factory New
As the finish worsens, the guns would appear more worn out and scratched in the game. It may also offset the weapon's performance during games.
Skins for weapons are usually grouped by collections. A single collection is considered to be what is inside one case. This excludes rare items. There are also collections for items not limited to cases. These drops most of the time related to themes that are based on particular maps.
Popular examples would be the Nuke Collection and the Gods and Monsters Collection.
Selling CS:GO Skins For Real Money
The CS:GO skins frenzy started in 2015 and 2016 and skins have been seen as very valuable since then. It has been so big that there are systematic processes on how players buy, sell, and trade their skins. People who want to do a transaction have to go through numerous background checks to prove they aren't scammers.
The easiest way those skin transactions are done is through real money CS:GO skin trading websites. Today, skins.cash and cs.money are two of the most popular sites to use. They are also the most trusted. Indeed, individuals have to log in to their steam accounts to do business on the site. It may seem sketchy, but it is the quickest way for verification.
Sites like cs.money also have "trading" as an option. A player can put up skins that they aren't interested in anymore in exchange for skins they want. The website has a calculator that shows the player if the trade is equal or not. Whatever either side lacks can be compensated with more skins or cash. It is a smart yet automated way to exchange skins fairly using a third party who is not vested in either side of the transaction.
It is important to check the verification process of any skin trading site you want to use. This can be easily done by checking if the connection is secure or not. The certificate can also be checked to see the legitimacy of the site. Check reviews on Reddit as well as other fan forums. Obviously, you will always find disgruntled people posting a bad review, so try to make use of common sense. This process can prevent your Steam credentials from being compromised.
CS:GO Skins As An Investment
Since CS:GO skins incorporate rarity and novelty to increase their value, they can be seen as an investment. There is also a massive market with people wanting these skins and ready to pay real money to get them.
For instance, if a skin is discontinued, expect the price of that skin to skyrocket. It is also the same with skins with a lot of hype such as brand new skins or limited-edition ones. The value depends on how much the players are interested in the certain skin versus how many can own it.
Trying to make money off CS:GO skins can actually be done considering the amounts of cash flow the skin trading attracts. With the number of players growing daily, and the game adapting with the times, the money it generates will increase. For people who are looking for a fast way to make big money, this isn't it. For the patient ones, this may be worth the investment.
There are factors to be taken into consideration when investing in skins. The main pillar would probably be the skin's value over time. There may be skins released in limited numbers at first, but CS:GO may continue to release more. The skin, in turn, would depreciate in value quickly since it's becoming more common.
Other factors include the skin's hype amongst players, its relevance to pop culture, or overall aesthetic. These factors usually are highly unpredictable as a single mention by a pro gamer about skin can cause its value to rise or drop. When researched correctly over some time, people can be ahead of the wave.
Anything that sparks interest from a massive audience can be turned into money. CS:GO skin trades prove to be one of those things, along with other forms of CS:GO gambling. Continued growth for the game and its scene translates to more money coming in for its item and skin trading market.
This article was published on June 5, 2021, and last updated on October 26, 2022.